PFC Ludogorets Razgrad eliminated SS Lazio in the last 32 and will look to take out another big European name in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 as Valencia CF return to Bulgaria.
• The sides are meeting for the first time in UEFA competition, and this is Ludogorets' first encounter with Spanish opposition.
• Valencia's only previous meeting with Bulgarian opponents in UEFA competition came against PFC CSKA Sofia in the 1978/79 UEFA Cup first round, where they lost 2-1 away, then won 4-1 at home.
• They also met PFC Slavia Sofia in the first round of the 1969/70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – the non-UEFA affiliated precursor to the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League – losing 2-0 in Sofia and drawing 1-1 at home.
• Bulgarian sides' record in 37 UEFA competition encounters with Spanish opponents is W8 D4 L25 (W8 D3 L7 at home – W0 D1 L17 in Spain, plus a 3-1 defeat for CSKA in a 1959/60 European Champion Clubs' Cup first round replay staged on neutral territory in Geneva).
• The Spanish side has come out on top in the last six meetings between the nations' clubs, with nine games having passed since the last Bulgarian win – PFC Slavia Sofia's 1-0 home success against CA Osasuna in the first round of the 1991/92 UEFA Cup. Even then Osasuna won the second game 4-0.
• Ludogorets were only promoted to the Bulgarian top flight for the first time in 2011, but won back-to-back titles, and are now enjoying by far the best of their two campaigns in Europe. They lost to GNK Dinamo Zagreb in the second qualifying round of last season's UEFA Champions League.
• This season Ludogorets progressed through the group stage in style (W5 D1), and remain unbeaten at home in the UEFA Europa League (W2 D2). They are the first Bulgarian club to make it through the UEFA Europa League group stage.
• Ludogorets are one of six qualifiers from the group stage who remain unbeaten after eight games, the others being AZ Alkmaar, ACF Fiorentina, Sevilla FC, Olympique Lyonnais and FC Salzburg.
• Valencia are unbeaten in seven European fixtures (W5 D2) since a 3-0 home loss to Swansea City AFC in September.
• Valencia reached the semi-finals in their most recent UEFA Europa League campaign, losing to eventual winners Atlético in 2011/12.
• Ludogorets boast Spanish talent in the form of winger Dani Abalo, who represented RC Celta de Vigo (2006-13) and CF Gimnástic de Tarragona (2012, loan) in his home country before moving abroad.
• Ludogorets' Roman Bezjak is the second highest scorer in this season's competition with six goals in 424 minutes of football – an average of a goal every 70 minutes 40 seconds. FC Salzburg's Jonatan Soriano tops the rankings with seven goals.
• Ludogorets right-back Junior Caiçara is one of only four players left in the competition who have played all 720 minutes of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League since the start of the group stage; the others are AZ Alkmaar midfielder Nemanja Gudelj, Sevilla goalkeeper Javi Varas and his Salzburg counterpart Péter Gulácsi.
• Ludogorets' Svetoslav Dyakov has received six yellow cards since the start of the group stage – more than any player left in this season's competiton.
• Spain and Italy are the best represented nations in the round of 16 with three clubs apiece.
• Ludogorets conceded the second fastest goal in UEFA Europa League history on matchday eight, Keita Baldé registering 16.88 seconds into their 3-3 draw against SS Lazio. The quickest remains the one scored by AEK Athens FC striker Ismael Blanco against FC BATE Borisov in a group game back in November 2009.
• Tottenham Hotspur FC, Ludogorets and Real Betis Balompié boasted the meanest defences in this season's group stage with just two goals conceded each.
• Ludogorets are one of five domestic champions in the round of 32 along with FC Basel 1893 (Switzerland), Juventus (Italy), FC Viktoria Plzeň (Czech Republic) and FC Porto (Portugal).
• Valencia (2004) are one of six previous UEFA Cup winners in the round of 16 along with SSC Napoli (1989), FC Porto (2003, 2011), Tottenham Hotspur FC (1972, 1984), Sevilla FC (2006, 2007) and final hosts Juventus (1977, 1990, 1993).
• Brought in to replace Ivaylo Petev as Ludogorets coach in July, Stoicho Stoev was a stylish forward with PFC Lokomotiv Sofia in the 1980s, though he maintained a European outlook and classes Arrigo Sacchi as his coaching idol. After taking charge of a number of smaller Bulgarian clubs, he led Ludogorets – his local side – to their first UEFA Europa League group stage campaign after defeat by Basel in the UEFA Champions League play-offs.
• Valencia dismissed Miroslav Djukić in December after six months at the helm.
• Juan Antonio Pizzi is now in charge at Valencia, having returned to Spain – for whom he made 22 international appearances – after establishing himself as a coach in South America. Born in Argentina, the striker played for CD Tenerife and Valencia before winning a title, two Spanish Cups and the 1996/97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup with Barcelona. Following spells with Porto and Villarreal CF, he hung up his boots in 2002, and briefly played polo.
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